Monday, April 18, 2011

"What if...???"

If I was (were?) a betting woman, I'd wager to say that many people fall into the trap of "what if?" thinking, and in their minds they outline all kinds of probable (and unprobable!) outcomes of situations, the vast majority of which are very negative. 

While I wouldn't generally consider myself a chronic 'worrier', certain elements of worry have certainly cropped up in this year of career transition.  I'd like to think that is to be expected (actually I think I'd worry if I wasn't worrying about the career transition, at least a bit!!! LOL!), when one is making such a big change in mid-life, especially when one has responsibilities to others than just to oneself, to consider.

However, it seems that recently I've been doing more than my required share of worrying about various short-term implications of my upcoming career transition.  For some reason, I'm not at all worried about successfully landing in the nursing field (or is it better/more positive to write 'I am confident about successfully landing in the nursing field'), but I am worried about the years of getting there.  This is where the "what if" scenarios are coming into play.

It seems I have honed this skill to a superior level, and I'm finding that it is not a particularly useful skill to have honed this well (in that it is not very useful!) 

Over the weekend, I came across a book at the library, entitled CALM, by Denise Marek.  It has really opened my eyes about chronic worriers, and it gave some excellent suggestions to re-wire the thinking process to a more useful one.  For example, when one finds that the brain is generating yet another catastrophic "what if?" scenario, then realize it, and change the question to "what is?"  I logically know that the "what if" scenarios are completely useless, and the chances of any of them coming true are highly unlikely.  So when I change the scenario in my mind to "what is", I find I come to a much more rational (and useful) conclusion about that scenario.

The book goes on to outline another way to look at worrying situations.  One realizes that "what if" situations are possible, yes, but then one should go on to ask "Is it probable?"  The answer to that one is quite likely 'no'. 

For some reason, I've found these two very simple alternate questions really resonated with me, and are extremely helpful in my career transition stress.  They seem to help quash (don't you just love that word???) the unfounded and non-helpful worrying thoughts that I've been generating lately.  This is good!  :-)

I thought I'd put this out there on my blog, as these alternate questions can definitely be applied to any worrying situation, not just a career transition related one.  If it can be at all useful or helpful to anyone else, I'd like to get it out there.  And it is a fantastic little book.  I'd recommend it to people, as it contains many gems of practical, logical information.  I'll be buying my own copy of it.


P.S.  21 more weeks until classes start!!!  (Then I just might be writing about replacing my 'what if -- insert hypothetical situation here -- worries, to more immediate anatomy/physiology and exam-related worries. Hopefully I'll come up with a strategy to help with those too!  Lol!

1 comment:

  1. sounds like a good book :-) Happy quashing!!